Recommended Dog Vaccinations
Dog vaccinations are an important part of keeping your dog healthy and preventing disease that can potentially be spread to other pets and humans in the household. There are several vaccinations that are recommended, some that are optional depending upon the type of life your dog leads and where he lives.
Frequency of Immunization
Puppies should begin getting their vaccines between 4 to 6 weeks. This is when puppies are weaned and the mother’s antibodies begin to wear off. After the initial vaccination, the puppy should receive booster shots every 3 to 4 weeks until the puppy reaches 16 weeks of age. The boosters ensure the puppy’s immune system is built up and develops his own antibodies. After 16 weeks, the puppy can have his first rabies vaccination.
Adult dogs receive booster shots annually. After recent research, many veterinarians are considering boosters every other year, especially with senior dogs. Findings show the immunity provided by the vaccines lasts longer than a single year and with senior dogs, there are other issues that present themselves, such as kidney disease or cancer, that are more prevalent in the aging canine population than distemper or parvo.
Rabies vaccinations are important to maintain as the disease is always fatal in dogs. The rabies vaccine is the only vaccine that now has a 1 year and a 3 year formulation, providing the option of having boosters annually or every 3 years. Licensing requirements may also mandate your dog be current on his rabies vaccinations in order to be licensed in your locale.
DHLPPC is a vaccination that combines several vaccines into 1 shot. The diseases covered by this vaccine are:
- Distemper is a highly contagious virus that most frequently affects puppies and is often fatal.
- Hepatitis or Adenovirus-2 is a virus passed in the urine and feces of an infected dog and causes both kidney and liver damage.
- Leptospirosis is a disease that affects the kidneys and liver and is fatal to the canine population. It is highly contagious to both dogs and humans.
- Parainfluenza is an upper respiratory infection passed through the nasal secretions of an infected dog.
- Parvovirus is an intestinal disease that causes severe dehydration and often death. While it primarily attacks puppies, adult dogs can also contract the disease.
- Coronavirus is similar to Parvovirus, causing severe dehydration through vomiting and diarrhea.
Bordetella is highly recommended and often required for those dogs who visit areas such as kennels, dog parks, doggy day care and other shared facilities. Bordatella is a highly contagious upper respiratory disease.
Giardia is a disease that lives in the intestines of infected dogs who have consumed contaminated water. This disease primarily affects those dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors such as hunting dogs or dogs that are around ponds or creeks.
Lyme disease is a tick borne disease. If you live in an area with a high incidence of Lyme disease or you have a dog that may come in contact with ticks, talk to your veterinarian about getting him immunized against the disease.
Prevention is often the only way of keeping your dog healthy when it comes to disease. Vaccination is a critical part of dog ownership and the best way to ensure that he stays as healthy as possible.